Before I turn her in with the calves, I make sure to close the door to the stall where the calves spend the night; I haven't been letting them in there lately, but I take pity on them when be single-digit temperatures are expected (as there were last night), and I close the gate that leads to a temporary pen we've made in our yard where the calves' water and hay bale is. (You know you're a redneck when you keep cows in your yard.) If Grace sees the stall door open, she goes in there and starts nibbling on the square bales of clover hay (they aren't really square, they're oblong... but that's what people call them).
|at least I remembered to close the gate to the yard-pen|
So this morning, I forgot to slide the door to the stall closed. And Grace, once she stepped out of the barn, noticed this out of the corner of her eye and, rather than walk straight ahead to the "small bite" of sweet feed awaiting her, she made a sharp left turn into the stall... where, in addition to clover hay, there was a large coffee-can-full of feed that I had just poured into a calf feeder. I grabbed the prod and beat away. She didn't even feel it. So here's what this morning's milking looked like:
By the way, I think my chores are about to get a little more labor-intensive: These calves will soon be four months old. I would love to wean them and put new calves on the cow, so I've put in a word with my usual suppliers for two Jersey/Holstein bull calves; it's the same folks I bought Grace from as a baby.
This gets a little complicated because poor Cliff will have to figure out someplace for another makeshift pen. Also, I will probably have to milk twice a day for awhile, because Gracie gives WAY too much milk for two Jersey-cross calves, and until they get used to a large amount of milk, they are likely to get scours (diarrhea); so I will have to take some of the surplus. I really should get three calves, although there would still be too much milk for them at first. I'd rather have more big Holsteins like Whitey and Moose, but the dairy now has them priced at $425 each, and I can buy two or three of the Jersey-cross calves for that price. I just want something to sell later on, to bring in a little extra money.
Wish me luck.